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Mayor Sarno Selects Lawrence Akers to Serve as next Police Superintendent: First African-American Top Cop in City’s History - Thanks Retiring Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood for her Years of Dedicated Service -

|   Public Safety

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno announced today at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ceremony at the MassMutual Center, that Deputy Chief Lawrence Akers, a 38-year veteran, will serve as the Springfield Police Department’s next Police Superintendent, following the retirement of current Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood.

This historic announcement comes on one of our nation’s most significant days, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as Akers will be the first African-American top cop in the City of Springfield’s history.

Akers has previously served as Deputy Chief. Throughout his distinguished 38-year career, he has been involved in nearly every aspect within the Springfield Police Department, including overseeing the city’s Metro Unit, supervisor in the Special Victims Unit, member of the Traffic and Motorcycle Unit, and the Springfield Police Honor Guard. He also served as the first supervisor for the Gaming Enforcement Unit. Akers has been a longtime supporter of the Department’s Ride to Remember. In 2021, he became the first Captain to ride in this event in an official capacity helping to escort riders via his police motorcycle, and in 2022 he was honored with a life-saving award for responding to a medical emergency at that year’s ride.

Akers, a proud graduate of the High School of Commerce, holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and was a recipient of the Frank Murphy Medal of Valor and numerous other awards and merits.

Mayor Sarno states, “Always the gentleman, a good man, good cop and a good leader. I have the utmost confidence in his ability to continue to lead our brave and dedicated men and women of the Springfield Police Department forward for the betterment of our community. I have witnessed firsthand and I am very impressed with Deputy Chief Akers street command presence dealing with some very difficult situations and just as important his compassion and empathy he exhibits to all in our community. He has been an integral part of my community stakeholder’s roundtable team meetings and has the respect of the rank and file under his command. This is important so that we can have a smooth transition, especially as we continue to implement Police Superintendent Clapprood and DOJ’s initiatives and reforms.”

“This historic announcement is significant, as we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day Akers will serve as the City of Springfield’s first African-American top cop in the city’s history,” added Mayor Sarno. “Yet another milestone and another first my administration is proud to usher in.”

“Larry comes from a great family, second-generation Springfield police officer following in the footsteps of his father, Charles E. Akers, who served for over 29 years. He will continue to serve our community with courage, honor, professionalism, and compassion. Congratulations to Superintendent Akers!” said Mayor Sarno.

Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood stated, “I want to thank Mayor Sarno for his trust, belief and confidence in my abilities to lead the brave women and men of our Springfield Police Department. I truly appreciate his continued friendship and leadership as we worked together with all of our public safety partners and community stakeholders implementing the numerous reforms and initiatives to make the Springfield Police Department the best it can be. For over 44 years, I have served with the Springfield Police Department, working alongside man great co-workers and friends, some who have passed away, others retired and still some serving. It has been an honor to serve with them and my community. I am proud of the work we have collectively done to help those in need. Police work is an honorable profession, one where saving lives is paramount. Although there have been some difficult and challenging times, I am proud of the work we have done to make Springfield a place where everyone is happy to live and work. I am now looking forward to my retirement and spending more quality time with family and friends, especially our four-legged fur babies. I will still be around, helping out in whatever capacity that I may be needed.”

“I want to congratulation Deputy Chief Lawrence Akers on being tapped as the next Police Superintendent to lead our brave and dedicated women and men of the Springfield Police Department,” Clapprood continued. “I have the utmost confidence in his abilities to continue to move our Springfield and the department forward with all of the numerous reforms, initiatives and programs. When I appointed him to serve as Deputy Chief, I knew he would excel and embrace that leadership role within our department, especially as are officers become younger and younger as more seasoned and veteran officers retire. His passion to serve is second-to-none, and he will be a good Police Superintendent. I also want to acknowledge that Lawrence Akers would become the first African-American Police Superintendent in our city’s history. Again, I am proud that our department represents and reflects the community in which it serves. Congratulations Larry, I wish you continued success and all the best.”

State Representative Bud Williams added, “Deputy Chief Lawrence Akers is a good man and a good cop. As a second-generation police officer, with over 38 years of experience, he will make an outstanding Police Superintendent. He knows our community well and the importance that police community relations play when dealing with public safety. I want to applaud Mayor Sarno for his choice in selecting an excellent candidate. It is only fitting that this announcement, selecting our city’s first African-American Police Superintendent, is announced on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Dr. King fought and died for the belief of equality and representation within the Black community. Now here we are, with Black leaders in nearly every aspect of our community. From electing our first Black President in Barack Obama to Black representatives on the local, state and federal level. Now Springfield has a proud and distinguished Black man as it’s top cop. Congratulations Larry!”

Attorney Michael Fenton, City Council President, stated, “This is an excellent choice by Mayor Sarno. Deputy Chief Akers is a fine selection to replace retiring Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood. I want to thank and congratulate Superintendent Clapprood on her well-deserved retirement and wish her continued success and good health. She led our department during challenging times but did a remarkable job keeping our Springfield Police Department moving forward while adopting numerous initiatives and reforms, and making sure our police department is in compliance with the DOJ. I have the utmost confidence that Deputy Chief Akers will continue to move our Springfield Police Department forward for the betterment of all our residents. Deputy Chief Akers brings a wealth of experience and respect not only from within the department but in our community too. Deputy Chief Akers selection to serve as our next Police Superintendent is a historic one for our city, especially as we collectively come together to celebrate MLK Jr. Day. Congratulations to Deputy Chief Lawrence Akers.”

Lavar Click-Bruce, City Councilor and Chair of Public Safety Committee, said, “First of all, congratulations to Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood on her retirement. I wish her nothing but good health as she enjoys this next chapter in her life. I am in full support of Mayor Sarno’s selection of Deputy Chief Lawrence Akers to be our next Police Superintendent. Deputy Chief Akers is a talented and capable individual with an impressive resume, having served in nearly every aspect within our Springfield Police Department. I also want to acknowledge that his selection is yet another first in our city’s proud history. With his appointment, Akers will become the first African-American Police Superintendent in our city’s history. He will be a shining example for our younger generations that through hard work, anything can be accomplished and achieved. I am looking forward to working with soon to be Superintendent Akers in the future.”

Deputy Chief Lawrence Akers thanked Mayor Sarno and Police Superintendent for their support and belief in his abilities to lead the men and women of the Springfield Police Department. “I cannot thank Mayor Sarno and Superintendent Clapprood enough for their continued support and confidence in me to lead our Springfield Police Department. To serve as the top public safety official for the City of Springfield, commanding the brave and dedicated men and women who serve and protect our community, is a great honor. To think that this second-generation Springfield police officer and motorcycle cop will serve as Police Superintendent is a great honor. I am very proud and humbled by this promotion. I want to thank my family, especially my wife Mary, for always being by my side during good times and challenging times. Thank you.”

Mayor Sarno, working with State Representative Bud Williams, will sponsor a special Home Rule legislation for the City Council to approve that will be filed with the state Legislature, that would allow Akers to continue to serve beyond the state imposed mandatory retirement for public safety officials.

“Our Springfield Police Department is a young department. The institutional knowledge and professionalism Deputy Chief Lawrence Akers brings is important for our younger officers to learn from. By allowing him to serve as Police Superintendent, he can continue to enhance our diverse Springfield Police Department while promoting the next generation of officers to lead our department for the betterment of our residents and business community,” said Mayor Sarno.

In addition, Mayor Sarno thanked retiring Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood for her over 44-years of service with our Springfield Police Department.

Mayor Sarno states, “Bitter-sweet, I will miss her, but she’s ready to call it a career and enjoy her retirement. Throughout her career, Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood served with honor, distinction and with the utmost professionalism. Under her leadership, she has helped to advance and move our Springfield Police Department forward with a wide variety of reforms, initiatives, and programs, all while dealing with the difficult challenges from the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, repeat violent criminal offenders and an increase in illegal and ghost guns. Through it all, Superintendent Clapprood stood steadfast and strong, ushering in numerous reforms, initiatives and programs to make our Springfield Police Department the best police department in the country. All of these advancements have helped to enhance police community relations, while also addressing quality of life issues, implementing new policing procedures, strategies and technology. From launching our body-worn camera program (first in the Commonwealth), partnering with Behavioral Health Network to respond with officers for mental health related calls, creating the Firearms Investigation Unit which has taken a record number of illegal and ghost guns off our streets, supporting specialized program such as our popular and successful Citizens Police Academy, and adopting various support, leadership and counseling programs for officers within the Department to help the brave men and women under her command grow into better leaders and supervisors, and help them heal from any physical and mental wounds they may get while serving in the line of duty. Thank you, Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood for your friendship and dedicated service to our Springfield - your positive legacy will live on. On behalf of the City of Springfield, we wish her continued success and good health as she enjoys her well-deserved retirement. God Bless.”

Page last updated:  Tuesday, March 1, 2022 01:32 pm